The Kentucky House and Senate on
Tuesday voted to override Democratic Governor Steve Beshear's veto of
a “religious freedom” bill.
Gay rights advocates had lobbied
against the controversial measure, warning that it could be used to
challenge local laws which ban discrimination based on sexual
Both chambers voted overwhelmingly to
approve the measure (79-15 in the House, 32-6 in the Senate), which
will take effect in 90 days.
“As I explained in my veto message, I
have significant concerns that this bill will cause serious
unintentional consequences that could threaten public safety, health
care and individuals' civil rights,” Beshear said in a statement.
The measure, HB 279, prevents the
government from infringing on any person's sincerely held religious
beliefs unless it can show with “clear and convincing evidence” a
compelling governmental interest.
Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness
Campaign, called passage “sad” and “disheartening.”
“Today, the commonwealth took a step
backwards in protecting its residents at the same time the United
States Supreme Court was hearing arguments that will advance the
rights of Americans. It's sad and it's disheartening,” he